How to stop Instagram making you feel low

We’ve all felt our mood plummet after too much time spent scrolling. Read on for ways to positively change how you use the app

We don’t need to tell you brilliant Instagram is. You’re also probably already aware that there can be a few downsides to it too. If you’ve ever lost hours to scrolling, felt frustrated by all the people you follow, and felt low in comparison to the glittering and glamorous lives you’re seeing on your feed, then you know that how we use the app needs to change. Here are some tips on how to use Instagram mindfully:

Cut back

Use an app like Your Hour to, a) see how much you are using Instagram and other apps, b) set a time limit on how much you use the app, and c) get a sense of how addicted to it you really are. Soon you will see how many times a day you open the app, how all those five minute scrolls add up, and how lost in it all you can get. It’s hard to believe we are losing an hour or more a day a day, but it’s happening.

Change who you follow

You are what you consume, and that’s as true for what you’re seeing online as it is for what you eat. If there are people you follow just so you can gossip about them with your friends (hands up, we’re all guilty of that one), if following a bunch of fitness bloggers is making you feel bad rather than inspiring you, and if you’re feeling too absorbed by celebrity gossip, cut it out. Follow some inspiring accounts who will encourage you to be mindful, calmer and that focus less on physicality and more on topics that will feed your mind and soul (see next point). Follow @humansofny for real life stories, Ted Talks @ted for inspiration and @deepakchopra for mindfulness.

Follow hashtags

Instagram isn’t just for fashion and fitness inspiration. You can use it to find new books to love, you can follow talented artists and writers, and you can tell involved in communities that align with your own interests. For example, follow hashtags like #bookstagram, #amreading to get inspiration for your next read, and of course follow #goodreads on Instagram to connect with a whole community of bibliophiles. At Irish Country Magazine we like to follow #irishdesign and #irishmade to discover new talented creatives around the country. And one example of a community rapidly growing on instagram is the zero waste movement. On Instagram you will find lots of excellent tips on minimizing waste in your home, and hashtags like #smallchangetuesday provide lots of valuable advice.

Be social

Yes, we are telling you to find communities for a reason. If you are guilty of silently scrolling, one way to change that is to actively engage on the platform. Obviously we all comment on our friends’ posts, but taking the opportunity to reach out and connect with someone who inspires you will completely transform how you use the app. Let an author know you loved their book, tell that small Irish business what your favourite product in their range is, and be brave enough to ask a question when a personality you love goes live.

Consciously check in

Your TV doesn’t come up with suggestions for you, you have to actively pick a channel and decide what to watch. Try experimenting with this on Instagram. Instead of going through your feed to see what’s there that day, look up your favourite accounts in the searchpage to see if they’ve any updates. If they don’t, close the app. You will only see content from who you want to see, you won’t be trawling through your feed full of people you don’t remember following, and you will probably get a better sense of who you actually want to follow.

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